Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships. X. Forming a Relationship

Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships. X. Forming a Relationship

Women suddenly change from being beautiful, erotic nymphs (positive anima archetype) to cunning and evil-tempered witches (negative anima archetype). Heathcliff certainly perceived this transformation in his relationship to Cathy. Men (like Heathcliff) who are caught up in the anima spell often project their own personal mood swings (and, in particular, their anger and depression) onto women and assume that they are feeling the way they are because of the way their loved one feels. Women, in turn, find that the men they love as saviors, heroes and spiritual guides (positive animus archetype) become clumsy and insensitive trolls or violent, belittling demons (negative animus archetype). We need look only at the changing reactions of Cathy to Heathcliff to illustrate just such a shift. Women, such as Cathy, project their own harsh judgments about the world onto men and assume that they are being fair in their own judgments but that the world is inherently unfair because of their male counterpart.

For a heavily enmeshed couple, such as Heathcliff and Cathy, there is no way out. They are both bound up in their projections onto the loved one; neither can recognize that they have given away powers that exist in themselves. Hence, they are always dependent on the presence of the other person for a sense of being a whole person; yet, they have also projected their negative images of the opposite gender on to their loved one, hence they are simultaneously in love and in hate. We know of some unfortunate real-life relationships that have lasted for many years, playing out this highly destructive cycle of projection, infatuation, disappointment, anger, rejection, fear, reconciliation and, once again, projection, and so forth. Heathcliff and Cathy finally joined together as one, in death, finding this to be the only way in which they could be in union without pain and conflict. We wish greater success and alter ative solutions for our real-life Heathcliffs and Cathys.

In their musical “Cinderella,” Rogers and Hammerstein, describe this same type of confusion. Prince Charming declares that he doesn’t know if he loves Cinderella because she’s beautiful or if she’s beautiful because he loves her. Does he love her because she’s wonderful or is she wonderful because he loves her? Like all princes, Charming doesn’t know what the source of his feelings is with regard to this remarkable person that he met at the ball. He only met her for a brief moment, in a very artificial and romanticized setting (the ball) and knew very little about her background or lineage (very important for a prince). Yet, he fell deeply in love with her or, more accurately, with his image of her.

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William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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